The Relationship Between Productivity and Health: WNYC Money Talking

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I’m excited to share that I was recently interviewed for WNYC’s Money Talking by host Charlie Herman. Charlie’s team found me through an article I wrote for the Harvard Business Review that got a lot of attention. It was really a commentary about our always-on culture; about the relationship between productivity and health. But the focus of the article and the interview was managing work email, specifically late night emailing and the effect it can have on individuals, teams, and company cultures.

You can listen to the 9 minute interview by clicking the image. (I also suggest you subscribe in iTunes or your player of choice, because the show is great.)

An interview about managing email with commentary about the relationship between productivity and health

I have this problem that when I write, and even when I hear myself speak: I always think, “ohmygosh I have so much more to say on that topic!” (It’s why my second book isn’t out yet, when I expected it to be finished this summer.) And of course, this interview was no different.

Productivity and Health: Of course I make time to eat lunch!

I joked with Charlie about making time for lunch, regardless of how busy I am. The point I should have made is that it’s not just because I walk my talk (I do). But it’s because I believe that productivity is really about making the best and most efficient use of your resources. And your most important resources are neither time nor money but body and mind. I’ve learned about myself (and the science backs it up, so it’s probably true for you too) that I can get more done when I don’t overwork. This is in part because overwork by itself is bad for us, but also because when I don’t spend all my time working, I have time to eat and hydrate properly, take frequent breaks, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. And all of these things together mean that not only do I get more done, I get it done better.

Productivity and Health: At What Cost?

At the end of the interview, Charlie commented that there are some industries, like the news business, where it’s almost impossible to get away because something is always happening. I rather inarticulately made the point that while something may always be happening, there have to be times when you aren’t a part of it. But here’s what I really meant to say: if you never step away, and you are always “on call,” 24/7/365, what effects does that have on the rest of your life? You may be great at your job, but at what cost? I think it’s easy to undervalue things like downtime, undistracted family time, proper sleep, nutrition, and the like. Constant work, heightened stress, and failure to focus on wellness take a toll not only on your productivity but on your relationships, your health, your ambition, your physical and cognitive abilities…really on every aspect of your life. If you study this effect, like I do, you may see the price you’re paying is higher than you expected.

My original article in the Harvard Business Review is here: Your Late Night Emails Are Hurting Your Team.

My follow-up, of sorts, is here: Fixing Our Unhealthy Obsession With Work Email.

The original show page for WNYC Money Talking, including links to all versions of the podcast subscription, is here.

Thanks for reading!

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